All current service members were informed of the Chairman, Joint Chief of Services stated Priorities:

“Achieve Our National Objectives in Current Conflict, Develop Joint Force 2020, Renew Our Commitment to the Profession of Arms, and Keep Faith with Our Military Family.”

-General Martin E. Dempsey

Some may question exactly how to renew a commitment that had true meaning. Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, JCS, recently shared a “how to renew” method: “reaffirming our oath of enlistment or office, an oath that has literally been around since the late 1700s. It is a powerful paragraph of soldierly verbiage and expresses the lifelong investment to a purpose that is greater than ourselves”.

“Service in our Armed Forces is more than a job; it is our profession. A job is something assigned within the profession. And jobs come and go, but the commitment and passion to the profession in which we serve lasts forever.”

It was a great reminder for me as a Veteran, retired soldier and one that continues to serve Veterans at VA. As a Veteran, this priority spoke volumes:

Keep Faith with Our Military Family

SGM Battaglia stated, “There comes a time when we honorably discharge or retire. Though no longer in uniform, the membership and passion within the profession remains unbroken”.

At VA our entire mission centers around caring for Veterans, but President Lincoln told us how also:

Mission Statement

 “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans.

This is something we can all do, as Veterans and as non- Veterans. All Americans are committed to our Nation’s Military and Veterans. Together we can achieve both priorities, past and present.

“Keep Faith with Our Military Family/ by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans.”

I urge every American to do exactly that. Keep the Faith with our Military Family, that includes Veterans. That means doing something to improve daily living for Veterans, their widows and orphans. Whether serving at VA, paid or un-paid, VA provides an opportunity to improve the lives of Veterans. Not everyone can work at VA, we know that. Most positions are in the health care field and require years of education and training. Non-healthcare jobs are competitive and receive many qualified applicants. However, VA is nationwide and many rural locations have open positions today. Most locations have positions for Physicians, Senior Registered Nurses, Pharmacists and allied health professionals. For those eligible today, apply now at or send your CV to

For Veterans and non-Veterans alike that desire to serve Veterans as VA, it is important to find an area where each of us can make a difference to improve Veterans lives. For some, that may mean volunteering, you can sign up at Others may need to further their education to qualify for a position that VA has ongoing needs for. You can review those positions listed in the “Spotlight Jobs” of VA Careers.

But there is also a second part to VA’s mission and to Gen Dempsey’s priorities and that is:

Keeping the faith/ and honoring.

What does that mean to you? As a Retired US Army MSG, I am not known for sensitivity. I tend to be fairly forward with people. With that said, what keeping the faith and honoring Veterans means to me is that I am responsible for making a difference in a positive manner. Negativity, bad-mouthing and complaining demonstrates neither.  Like most of you, I keep up with current events, especially those that pertain to fellow Veterans and me. I read about VA in many self-serving articles and comments on social media sites that serve nothing more than a venting session. I agree VA needs accountability and transparency to ensure quality service to Veterans. It is equally important to “honor” our Veterans.  Even though I am a Veteran, I do not need to be thanked, and I am honored to serve Veterans daily. As Veterans, we need to honor our fellow Veterans as well, in actions, in deeds and in words.

As stated by Gen Dempsey, I believe a renewal of our Commitment to the Profession of Arms is in order. Veterans have made this country great and ensured long lasting liberty that is the envy of other countries. As Veterans, It is our time to keep the faith in our military family and to honor our fellow Veterans. We do this through encouragement, through self-improvement and care and by lifting each other up. By putting our fellow Veteran and their widows and orphans ahead of our own needs, we will honor ALL Veterans, including ourselves.

So, I too invite everyone to join with our Military Family; to keep the faith, to serve and to honor all Veterans past, present and future.

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Published on Aug. 20, 2013

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